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Can The Filly Beat The Boys? Blue Grass Stakes Betting Preview, Odds and Best Bets

SI Gambling insider Frankie Taddeo handicaps this weekend’s Blue Grass Stakes from Keeneland Race Course, including the latest odds and best bets.

We could be on the verge of witnessing horse racing history on Saturday afternoon.

A filly will be looking to take on the boys for only the second time ever in the history of the Blue Grass Stakes. The 96th running, will have a possible 170 Kentucky Derby points at stake at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky.

Trainer Ken McPeek has decided to enter his star filly, Swiss Skydiver (3/1), into the Kentucky Derby discussion by stepping up to take on the boys. Swiss Skydiver enters the Blue Grass Stakes as the points leader atop the Kentucky Oaks standings and is in superb form winning each of her last three races. She easily has the respect of the oddsmakers being installed as the 3/1 morning line favorite to accomplish the first-ever victory by a filly in the storied history of the race.

Her connections believe that after registering impressive triple-digit speed figures in her most recent efforts, it places her right among this Grade 2 field. All bettors need to take note of the fact that Swiss Skydiver is being afforded the huge luxury of “getting in light.” That means she will only carry 118 pounds, while all the boys will carry a weight of 123.

The $600,000 race is a major qualifier for the prestigious $3 million Kentucky Derby to be held in 57 days on September 5. Swiss Skydiver will have her hands full with Steve Asmussen’s Basin (8/1), Tom Drury’s improving 3-year-old Art Collector (5/1) and Ronald Moquett’s Man In The Can (10/1).

Basin, comes in fresh off a runner-up finish to Bob Baffert’s star Charlatan in the Arkansas Derby back on May 2. Art Collector and Man In The Can both come in fresh off three-race winning streaks and merit strong respect from bettors on Saturday. It should be highlighted that Man In The Can’s last win back on June 12 came over Dean Martini who came back to score an impressive upset in the Ohio Derby on June 27.

Who will cross the finish line first? Let’s take a look at the morning line odds and dive in deeper.

Blue Grass Stakes (G2)

Racetrack: Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky

Date: Saturday, July 11, 2020

Purse: $600,000

Derby Points: 100-40-20-10

Distance: 1 1/8 mile, Dirt

Race: 9


Post Time: 5:30 p.m. EST / 2:30 PST

TOP CHOICES: Listed by post number, name, and odds:

#3 Art Collector (5/1) - I love the form this 3-year-old is in and I believe he gets the job done. I am hoping Swiss Skydiver draws more of the money so I can grab solid value on odds of over 5/1 at post. Top Choice

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#7 Swiss Skydiver (3/1) - The race is wide open and the weight break could definitely enhance her chances of making history on Saturday. No filly has ever won the Blue Grass Stakes and while she has won four of seven career starts I am reluctant to back her as the top choice at short odds. She must be respected and used on all verticals. Contender

#1 Shivaree (8/1) - This front-runner, will most likely battle Swiss Skydiver for the early lead, and should he get an uncontested lead, could take the field wire-to-wire. I am not convinced that can happen, but if the track comes up favoring speed on Saturday he could definitely hold on for a slice underneath in exotics. Respect

#8 Basin (8/1) - Sign me up if I can get odds of 8/1 or higher on Steve Asmussen’s colt who has come up short (2nd, 4th, and 3rd) in his last three races. His runner-up finish to one of the best horses in the country in Charlatan in the Arkansas Derby is the classic case of respecting the level of the competition as opposed to only looking at win/loss. Threat


#10 Rushie (5/1), #5 Man In The Can (10/1), #4 Mr. Big News (10/1) - If the latter entrants go off at double-digit odds, we could be looking at some excellent exotic payouts. The formula has these boys separated by the slightest of margins and all three should be prominently placed on all exotic tickets. 

Blue Grass Stakes Formula Rankings:

  • #3 Art Collector (J: Brian Hernandez; T: T. Drury)
  • #7 Swiss Skydiver (J: Mike Smith; T: K. McPeek)
  • #1 Shivaree (J: John Velazquez; T: R. Nicks)
  • #5 Man In The Can (J: Tyler Gaffalione; T: R. Moquett)
  • #8 Basin (J: Ricardo Santana; T: S. Asmussen)
  • #10 Rushie (J: Javier Castellano; T: M. McCarthy)
  • #12 Enforceable (J: Joel Rosario; T: Mark Casse)
  • #4 Mr. Big News (J: Mitchell Murrill; T: W. Calhoun)
  • #13 Tiesto (J: Flavien Prat; T: W. Mott)
  • #2 Finnick The Fierce (J: Jose Ortiz; T: R. Hernandez)
  • #9 Attachment Rate (J: Luis Saez; D. Romans)
  • #11 Hunt The Front (J: Corey Lanerie; T: N. Zito)
  • #6 Hard Lighting (J: Rafael Berjarano; T: A. Delgado)

Blue Grass Stakes Betting Breakdown:

Frankie Taddeo, SI Gambling & Fantasy Analyst / Vegas Insider (@Frankie_Fantasy)

The question all bettors need to answer in this race is can the filly beat the boys and earn a spot in the Kentucky Derby?

My top plays will involve using Art Collector and Swiss Skydiver on top in all exotics. My top longshots and next tier consists of Man In the Can, Mr. Big News, Rushie and Shivaree.

TOP Exacta Part-Wheel: 3 / 1,4,5,7,8,10,12,13 $1 wager: $8

Protective Exacta P/W: 7 / 1,3,5,10,12,13 $1 wager: $5

TOP Trifecta Part-Wheel: 3 with 1,7,5,10 with 1,4,5,7,8,10,12,13 $1 wager: $28

Spread Trifecta P/W: 3 with 1,4,5,7,10,13 with 1,4,5,7,8,10,12,13 $1 wager: $42

Protective Trifecta P/W: 7 with 3 with 1,4,5,7,8,10,12,13 $1 wager: $7

All wagers display ticket cost. All bettors should adjust wager amounts based upon bankroll

Destin Heath, Trainer at Winstar Farms, Versailles, KY (@DestinHeath)

Top Choice: #3 Art Collector (5/1)

Use Underneath: #7 Swiss Skydiver (3/1) and #13 Tiesto (15/1)

Favorite Longshot: #13 Tiesto (15/1)

One additional play from Destin

Madison Stakes (Race 4, Keeneland; 3:18 EST / 12:18 PST; 7F, Dirt)

The Winstar Farms trainer has an interesting take earlier on the Keeneland card in the Madison Stakes, taking place in Race 4.

Chad Brown’s filly Guarana, who has posted triple-digit speed figures in four of her five career wins/starts, is the even-money (1/1) morning-line favorite. 

However, Destin has his eyes on a longshot that is primed to surprise. 

He advises all bettors to take a hard look at Dale Romans’ gal Sally's Curlin at odds of 10/1 who is coming off a win in the Hurricane Bertie Stakes (G3) back on March 14. She has won four of her last five races and posted triple-digit speed figures in two of her last three. Steve Asmussen’s talented Mia Mischief (3/1), who has hit the board in eight of 10 career races, figures prominently into the mix as well.